Neville Gallimore makes impression in Dallas Cowboys season debut

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys made a lot of headlines Sunday in their first division match-up against the Washington Football Team. From the outsourced bench they sat upon, to Micah Parsons‘ march to claim Defensive Player of the Year, to the offense’s struggles, to Randy Gregory‘s first career interception, there is no shortage of material to write about on this hallowed Victory Monday.

But I want to talk about something different this morning. Something that’s flying under too many radars right now and something that could be quite impactful down the stretch for the Dallas Cowboys. I want to talk about the return of Neville Gallimore

Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore could be huge for the Dallas Cowboys this winter

Pop Quiz: What is the Dallas Cowboys weakest position on the team?

Even though the offense has been struggling, I think we all feel pretty decent about the different position groups on offense. Sure, TE looks pretty shallow, but Blake Jarwin is working his way back and should be able to be an impact player alongside Dalton Schultz as quickly as this week.

If there’s a weakness it’s on the defensive side. Cornerback is a little concerning given the wild mood swings Anthony Brown imposes on Cowboys Nation, but as a whole, he’s played pretty well and the depth behind him is fairly solid as well.

Linebacker is a legit concern, but with Micah Parsons taking most of his snaps at linebacker these days, it’s hard to make a case a DPOY candidate is manning the weakest unit of the team. Besides, is it just me or did Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal just have one helluva game?

It’s clear, defensive tackle is the Dallas Cowboys weakest position group on the team. That was true before this season and it’s true today – at least heading into Sunday’s game against “Football Team.”

The Dallas Cowboys headed into the 2021 season banking on Neville Gallimore, a third round second-year player, to be the top man on the defensive interior. But when he was lost before the season, a known weakness suddenly became a glaring concern. Luckily for Dallas, the rookie Osa Odighizuwa hit the ground running and helped fill Gallimore’s void.

As the season progressed and the mileage increased, Osa’s effectiveness began to fade. A situation only made worse by the loss of Brent Urban, the veteran blue-collar bruiser who split time up and down the D-line.

The Dallas Cowboys interior defensive line was low on top-end talent as well as shallow in depth. Osa was being overworked and there wasn’t much hope in sight. Until, of course, Neville Gallimore returned.

Gallimore, 6-foot-2, 302 lbs, couldn’t have returned at a better time for the Dallas Cowboys. While the returns of DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Amari Cooper were getting all the headlines, it was Neville Gallimore who stood to make the most needed positional impact.

After a strong offseason, Gallimore was predicted to make an enormous impact in this his sophomore season. It’s safe to say, his first game back did not disappoint…

Not only does Gallimore take on some of the pass-rushing burden from Osa, but he rounds out the unit as a whole and aids in the entire DT rotation. As the clip above shows, Gallimore isn’t just an explosive gap-shooter from the inside, but he’s also a powerful force to be reckoned with. Gallimore was setting this play up all game. And when he saw the opportunity to put the Washington center on his heels, he did it, bull-rushing through the line and making a pivotal sack in the fourth quarter.

Gallimore’s ability to play stout and quick makes him a complement next to Osa as well. Even though the two players have overlapping skill sets in the way of pass-rush, the two can be paired together to be quite the formidable run-stopping duo as well.

In the clip above we see Gallimore break through and disrupt, while “Diggy” swept down the line and cleaned up. Both players have the strength to hold up at the point of attack, both have the quickness to shoot the gap and disrupt, and both players have athleticism to work down the line and chase plays.

The Dallas Cowboys are notorious for favoring DTs that can move rather than that traditional plugger types (fans have been clamoring for) that don’t move, and it’s for reasons like we see above. Will McClay doesn’t want players that can be avoided and we’re starting to see why with Osa and Neville playing so well next to each other.

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The importance of Neville Gallimore’s return cannot be understated. He played like star yesterday and showed everyone just how much better this Cowboys team can look with some decent interior play. The pair of Osa and Neville should excite everyone and could be key down the stretch.